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At Boonsboro class, women learn how to protect themselves

April 08, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

BOONSBORO - Rachel McVey is more than happy to share her knowledge of personal protection in a four-week class under way at St. Mark's Episcopal Church on Lappans Road.

Supervisor for security at the Frederick County Courthouse, McVey reveals that she was a victim of sexual assault when she was 15. She has a professional and personal interest in the subject.

The first thing she told the 20-plus class members on opening night was that self-defense is not about fighting. Rather, it is about safety, protection and avoiding physical contact, McVey told the class.

Adult and adolescent females make up the bulk of the class, although one husband was in attendance.

"In this day and age, everyone needs to protect themselves," said Barb Camp of Keedysville.

Her husband, Craig Camp, joined so he and his wife could learn the techniques together.

Six girls from Cadette Girl Scout Troop 81312 in Myersville, Md., also are attending the free sessions, which began April 1 and are continuing each Tuesday through April 22 at 7 p.m.

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McVey is going back to college to get a degree in criminal justice. She has taught personal safety at Frederick Community College and has seven years of law enforcement experience.

Patty Forsythe, a member of St. Mark's, contacted McVey about the possibility of bringing the course to the church for anyone wanting to know more about personal safety.

"I was more than happy to teach the course here," McVey said. She noted that Forsythe took her course at FCC two years ago.

McVey receives no pay but is reimbursed through the church outreach fund for her gasoline expenses.

Her security job has her in uniform and armed, but she is a civilian, she said.

"I got into personal safety through Capt. Kirby Maybush, helping him with his classes," she said.

When Maybush, who is with the Frederick County Sheriff's Department, decided to take a break from teaching, McVey was more than happy to step in.

"About 65 percent of the people who are assaulted know their attacker," McVey pointed out to the class.

She emphasized that communication is huge in maintaining personal safety when strangers are involved.

"Keep your cell phone and your keys in your pocket, not your purse," McVey said to the women class members. "And always tell someone where you are going, who you will be with and when to expect you back."

If confronted with a possible dangerous situation, McVey said it is vital to maintain a positive attitude, always be aware of your environment and look the potential aggressor in the eyes rather than cowering.

"Remember, personal possessions can always be replaced. You cannot," McVey said. "There is no such thing as fighting fair when your safety is in question."

For more information about the current class or future classes, call 301-582-0417 or 301-797-1945.

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